What a concept. Expanding enrollment in America’s Universities that afforded greater opportunity for working people to participate in advanced education created an opportunity for America’s sitting President to be where he is today.
The context in which people realized this opportunity is also important. Barack Obama was raised by parents and grandparents who were employed by government. As I have written, you might characterize Obama as a child of the CIA. He has no private sector experience and lacks an appreciation for the part of the American system that creates wealth sufficient to support a high quality life and good government.
Skewed toward the public sector dimension, criticisms that he is socialist leaning may be valid. Seeing how the administration is responding to demand for more private sector jobs by creating more public sector jobs instead is alarming.
Nonetheless, accomplishments by the ordinary elite appear in the private sector as well. That is where we must concentrate.
“The rise of the 'ordinary' elite
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In 1958, an English sociologist and Labor Party politician named Michael Young imagined a future in which the British establishment dissolved itself, abolished all forms of hereditary power and created instead a meritocracy (a word Young invented) based on IQ. In Young's fable, the academically talented from the working class happily join the elite. But the less-talented resent them even more than they did the old dukes and duchesses. By 2034, this resentment leads to a violent populist revolution that sweeps the meritocracy away.
To some, this story has always seemed like a warning to America. In 1972, the American sociologist Daniel Bell cited it and predicted, with amazing prescience, the rise of an anti-elite-education populism. Bell got one thing wrong, however: He thought the coming attack on universities would take the form of enforced quotas and lowered standards. In fact, American universities staved off that particular populist wave in the 1970s by expanding their admissions to include women and minorities, while keeping standards high.
The result of that expansion is now with us: Barack Obama, brought up by a single mother, graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law School, is president. Michelle Obama, daughter of a black municipal employee, graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, is first lady. They brought with them to Washington dozens more people, also from modest backgrounds, mostly not with inherited wealth, who have entered high government office thanks in part to their education. Not that Washington wasn't stuffed with such people already: Think of Clarence Thomas, son of a domestic servant and a farm worker, graduate of Yale Law School, Supreme Court justice.”
Markets don't reward smart people. They reward value.”